The world-famous British architectural firm Foster + Partners has unveiled a concept design for a “vertiport” terminal for vertical take-off and landing vehicles like air taxis, which would link Dubai’s most visited sites and offer fast, emission-free transportation.
According to Foster + Partners, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, approved of the concept developed in partnership with advanced air mobility (AAM) company Skyports Infrastructure. It would be built right close to Dubai International Airport (DXB) and would work in tandem with DXB’s infrastructure and other nearby transportation nodes.
Foster + Partners studio head David Summerfield was quoted in a press release as saying, “We are delighted to have developed a vertiport concept for the emerging AAM industry, which will transform the way people travel in Dubai.”
He went on to explain that the vertiport concept would link up with DXB and the Dubai Metro “to provide seamless, sustainable travel across the city for international and domestic passengers.”
Foster + Partners’ conceptual designs place the station atop a raised platform that allows for easier takeoffs and landings. The terminal structure connects the arrival and departure areas and curves around the airfield, providing a breathtaking panorama of the airport and the city beyond.
Taxis in the clouds
In February, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced on Twitter that air taxi stations would soon be opening in Dubai.
The Emirate has been working on a system of air taxis for some time now. The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai revealed plans to introduce autonomous passenger drones in 2017. The drones would be one-seaters manufactured by the Chinese firm Ehang.
The first public test flight of the Chinese XPeng X2 flying automobile with two seats was performed in 2022 at the GITEX technology expo in Dubai. The two-seat, totally electric vehicle is capable of speeds of up to 80 miles per hour and vertical takeoff thanks to its eight propellers.
Dubai saw the first flight of the XPeng flying car.
According to Foster + Partners, Skyports Infrastructure and RTA are planning to establish the vertiport networks for air taxis by 2026, with the site near DXB airport being one of four planned vertiport locations.